I’ve known for awhile now that our helper (Mel) has a hard time reading and understanding what she does read. I’m trying to observe her without her knowing, I don’t want to embarrass her. My nieces told me that they are helping Mel on how to read during night time before she goes to bed. They also help her try to understand what the story she’s reading is all about. I was shocked of how little knowledge she had of everything. It’s just heartbreaking that she didn’t have much schooling. How could she get ahead in life without some knowledge.
A week or so ago I was at our kitchen cooking. I was asking Mel about her baby and how old is her baby now? She told me that her little one is turning 1 year old soon. I then remembered hearing from my nieces that Mel had a hard time on understanding reading with just simple books. It just hit me to let her say the months of the year for me, it was just me and her in the kitchen anyway. My mouth just drop when she can’t even tell me the months of the year in proper order. I asked her of what year she finished up in her education? What grade level is she? She told me that she was in the middle of her freshman year when she quit school. I told her, I wanted her to try to study with the kids during night time. I am going to give her reading books for grade school level (lower level really like 3rd grade). I’m not trying to be mean to Mel, I just wanted for her to learn a little at a time. She showed some interest in cooking with me in the kitchen. She wants to learn how to cook Western foods. She likes making dessert too. So for now she’s learning the names of the ingredients and the names of the utensils/tools in the kitchen. She has to learn the measurements too. Really almost everything in the kitchen are new to her. It’s fun and challenging on teaching her. My patience is tested sometimes.
I asked Mel why is it that she didn’t know a lot about schooling? How did she get to freshman with the little knowledge she had. Just by listening to her, her grade level should be in the early grade school level. She told me that when she went to school, she’s mostly absent from the class. Reason she said was that they don’t have money for food everyday and for her projects. So she decided to quit and just work part time as a waitress. The money can’t really sustain because she’s also paying for her boarding house and food and gave some to her parents. While working she found a guy who frequently went to the restaurant where she worked and they dated and he made her pregnant. The parents were really devastated with that. So for now the parents let Mel work while they take care of the baby. They’ve been really good about it, even her brother helped her out with the expenses of the baby. They asked the father of the baby, I think he is giving if he can. He is out of a job now.
Mel wants to go back to school later to finish up even just high school. That’s one thing my nieces like about Mel, she really is willing to learn. She’s kind of slow but at least she shows them the willingness to learn from them. My niece Bebe made flash cards to help Mel out with the words and meanings, just simple basic words. I would really be happy if in a year or so Mel can fully help me out in the kitchen with no supervision. Her parents will be so happy too. Hopefully she can do it. We will try to help her out on that.
I know we have lots of people like Mel here in the Philippines. Sad part they are going to be married young and the cycle keeps going on and on. It never stops. Hope later on they will learn some lessons.
Feyma Martin is a Columnist here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, she is the wife of site Publisher, Bob Martin. Feyma is originally from the Philippines, but went to the USA for 10 years after marrying Bob in 1990. Bob & Feyma moved to the Philippines to live permanently in 2000.